By Mike Badilla
Space Battle Lunchtime. The rules are simple: cook or be cooked, according to the awesome (and illustrated vs written) recap page. Without fact checking (so don't get all mad if I'm wrong) I'm going to assume this is some kind of intergalactic cooking battle. Different cooks are pulled from different planets or galaxies in order to compete, and this round there is a human! She is very upset that she has been chosen for all this competition. Understandably so, as ending up in some alien's stomach is a pretty poor fate if she doesn't win.
We open at 5 minutes before showtime, and we see our human (named Peony, blood type A) in her holding cell awaiting the start of the competition. She is formulating a plan as to how to survive this whole thing. She ponders simply waiting out the clock so she can bide more time and look for an exit, but she knows that if too much goes on then no one will ever know what happened to her back on earth and she will become the dinner of some alien. Out of nowhere an alien (or robot flying thing) appears and offers her helpful tips on how to survive, including; don't get cornered and don't make blood salad, as Space Caesar (the ruler of this whole planet and competition) hates this salad and someone inevitably tries to offer it every time.
The competition begins and we are introduced to Peony as well as her competition, the small robot alien thing returning to Space Caesar (known as SC for the duration of this review). SC gives the nod and the competitors all race for the center of the arena towards what looks like some kind of giant shelving unit filled with weapons and foodstuffs alike. While everyone is battling and cooking, Peony sneaks away to start preparing a dish of her own. We then, for a moment, cut to a spaceship making its way through space. Don't know why.
Back at the competition we see that one of Peony's competitors, Princess Magicorn (crowd favorite) has prepared a dish but thinks it needs someone sweet, looking at Peony. Peony tries to reason with Magicorn, but before Magicorn attacks, the spaceship (from earlier) bursts through the arena wall and a woman steps out, recognized by Peony as Neptunia. Neptunia beats up Magicorn and the two lock in a kiss, only to be interrupted by SC!
Well this is certainly interesting! An intergalactic cooking competition where the loser is eaten, lesbian love in space, all drawn in a pleasing art style somewhat reminiscent of Adventure Time? Great! A little short, yes, but great. The art was fantastic, everything was very warm and colorful and funny to look at. The art was consistently good throughout the book, always an important factor. The story, as I already commented on, is a real breath of fresh air. Everything is so light and fun, but still intriguing and original to the point where I was looking forward to seeing what happened next. Even though I recapped the whole book in this review, it is totally worth a read. Give this a try if you need something different, I know I'll be back for more.
Space Battle Lunchtime #6
Writer/Artist: Natalie Riess
Publisher: Oni Press